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The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps Hardcover – 3 Nov. 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,207 ratings

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Frequently bought together

  • The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps
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  • The Devil's Atlas: An Explorer's Guide to Heavens, Hells and Afterworlds
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From the Publisher

Product description

Review

‘A bonkers book…Highly recommended’  -- Andrew Marr

‘A spectacular, enjoyable and eye-opening read...
A wonderful book, with beautiful illustrations throughout’  -- Jonathan Ross

Beautifully illustrated…brain-boggling…an excursion into the minds of men imagining an as yet uncharted world’  ― Spectator

This intriguing book…shows how places that aren’t there can endure, sometimes for centuries, once a map-maker has inked them in’  ― The Times

Beautiful… Brooke-Hitching [has] an eye for a good story and his book is gloriously illustrated with ancient mistaken maps, each accompanied by a thoroughly researched tale of the men whose errors led to them.’  ― Daily Express

Extraordinary’  ― Historia Magazine

‘Excellent... Arranged alphabetically in fifty-eight short chapters, with lavish deployment of illustrations, the book provides a
captivating chronicle of our battle with ignorance’  ― Literary Review

Unreservedly recommended’  ― The Monocle

‘From the magnetic mountain at the north pole to Australia’s inland sea, Edward Brooke-Hitching charts five centuries of misrepresentative maps.’  ―
The Guardian

A rich selection… [that] shows how lively minds made use of limited knowledge, but also how rumour, guesswork and downright lies can persist in the scholarly imagination.’  ― The Economist

‘One of the
most beautiful books I’ve ever seen in my life…full of fascinating quirky things.’  -- Jen Campbell, author Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

‘The fascination and beauty of maps both emerge clearly in this well-written, witty and thoughtful book…this is
a spirited and enjoyable study’  ― Standpoint

Exquisitely produced… Gorgeous illustrations of countries and islands that were once thought to exist...For any fans of maps this is a must’  ― The Australian

'
Fascinating ... and beautifully illustrated' -- Rosamund Urwin ― Evening Standard

'
The Phantom Atlas describes some 50 "myths, lies and blunders" and illustrates them in delightful detail...deserve[s] a place on the coffee table, but only after it's been read: there is as much to absorb as to see.' -- John Ure ― Country Life

From the Back Cover

The Phantom Atlas is an atlas of the world not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be. These marvellous and mysterious phantoms - non-existent islands, invented mountain ranges, mythical civilisations and other fictitious geography - were all at various times presented as facts on maps and atlases. This book is a collection of striking antique maps that display the most erroneous cartography, with each illustration accompanied by the story behind it.
Exploration, map-making and mythology are all brought together to create a colourful tapestry of monsters, heroes and volcanoes

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 1471159450
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster UK; 1st edition (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9781471159459
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1471159459
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 20.07 x 3.05 x 24.89 cm
  • Customer reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,207 ratings

About the author

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Edward Brooke-Hitching is a screenwriter and author of The Madman's Library (Sunday Times Literary Book of the Year 2020, BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week), as well as the Simon and Schuster non-fiction bestsellers The Devil's Atlas, The Sky Atlas, The Golden Atlas (both shortlisted for Edward Stanford Writing Awards), The Phantom Atlas, and Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sports. His forthcoming title The Madman's Gallery: The Strangest Paintings, Sculptures and Other Curiosities From the History of Art will be published in October 2022.

Edward spent six years as a fact-finder and scriptwriter for the BBC TV show QI before leaving to write books full time. His work has featured in the Guardian, the London Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Literary Review, the Spectator, the Economist, the Washington Post and others. He has appeared on shows including BBC Radio 4's Museum of Curiosity, Start the Week with Andrew Marr, and the Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross.

The son of an antiquarian book dealer and an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he lives with his labrador Annie Jump Cannon in a dusty heap of old maps and books in Berkshire, where he gardens poorly and practises sword-swallowing even less successfully.

"A mine of information" - Simon Mayo, Books of the Year.

"Writes great books" - Sandi Toksvig.

"Brooke-Hitching's prose is elegant and witty. A worthy inheritor to D'Israeli." Spectator

Twitter: @foxtosser


Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,207 global ratings

Top reviews from United Kingdom

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 August 2019
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 July 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into past thinking and blunders
By Kristin on 28 July 2018
If you've ever got something wrong at work, then think of these poor souls whose errors are still worthy of publication centuries later! If you love maps or history you will love this book. A great mix of the maps themselves, together with information about their context and creators written in a very accessible manner. I would also think it could be a good present for any teenager who feels that these are their favourite subjects, but probably at GCSE level and above unless you are happy to go through some with them. Younger children will still love the pictures though. A great example of a book to both treasure and to read.
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 October 2018
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 March 2022